Ocado getting closer to a pre-tax profit as sales rise 18%

Retail sales at online grocer Ocado have risen 18 per cent for the first quarter (Q1) in 2014 as it continues to progress towards its first annual pre-tax profit.

The British retailer – which stocks own-brand products and supplies Waitrose products – increased retail sales by 22 per cent to £218.8m in Q1.

Clive Black of Shore Capital, who maintained a sell rating, said Ocado was part of a club that is in demand but remained concerned of its inability to make a profit.

He said: “We see a very considerable difference in the business make-up, model, performance and strategic outlook of the likes of Appliance Online, Asos and Boo Hoo compared to Ocado.”

Average basket size was down 46p to £117.53 and average orders per week rose 18.4 per cent to 115,152. Analysts predict Ocado will make a pre-tax profit in 2013-14.

“While we are encouraged by our current trading, the retail environment remains both challenging and competitive, and we expect to continue growing in line with, or slightly ahead of, the market,” said Chief Executive Tim Steiner.


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